Dig the Now Sound (Thursdays at 10:00 pm eastern on Turn Me On, Dead Man Radio) plays standout recent garage/psych. The featured track this week is “A-Bow” by the Swedish band The Janitors, who are from Stockholm. “A-Bow” is a killer 12+ minute track that showcases The Janitors‘ own special brand of psychedelia. “A-Bow” is on the 2012 EP Head Honcho (which made it onto my list of the best releases of 2012) and it’s also available as a free download on Bandcamp.
I corresponded recently with Jonas and Henric of The Janitors and here is what they had to say.
Turn Me On, Dead Man: Well, I have to ask about the first single “Away”/”Firefly” (2004). What was it about that experience that caused the band to split up the night of its release?
The Janitors: We kind of reached the end of the road with the format we had at the time (two guitars, and two drums and a shitload of feedback – although you can’t really hear that on the recordings, we kind of went soft there). In addition I think the three of us needed to take time to explore other things. There weren’t any hard feelings, we just got bored. The band started as a counteraction against all the sweet indie bands, but all of a sudden we were the talk of the town.. That wasn’t our intention. So we just quit.
Turn Me On, Dead Man: Your next release, First Sign of Delirium, was not until 2010. Why so long to pick it up again? What were you doing between 2004 and 2010?
The Janitors: To capture five years in a couple of sentences is quite hard. But life kind of happened. We got kids, finished educations and started working. Kind of lost track of the noise.. But after a while we needed a vent to get stuff out of our system and we soon figured the studio was the perfect place. So The Janitors 2.0 started to take shape and it still is in a constant state of change.
Turn Me On, Dead Man: On your facebook page you describe your music as “Swedish evil shoegaze boogie woogie and stökpsych a go go!” I don’t speak Swedish. What does “stökpsych” mean or shouldn’t I ask?
The Janitors: Stök is swedish for mess. Our good friend Johan, promoter at the great Fritz’s Corner (fritzscorner.se), came up with both descriptions. We usually use Stök to describe things that got kind of messy and it only seems fitting not to translate it.
Turn Me On, Dead Man: I love the cover art for Head Honcho. That has to be one of my all-time favorite album covers–the strange mix of trippiness, technology and death that “A-Bow” also captures. So how do you see psychedelia? Is it fucked up music for a fucked up world or does it go beyond that? Some of your songs are about death. What comes after that?
The Janitors: First of all, Thank you! We really like it to! We haven’t looked in the dictionary under psychedelia. But fucked up music for a fucked up world seems quite fitting. After death comes nothing. Being raised in a secular society neither of us have any illusions of an afterlife. But death is a very strong symbol and has been present in many ways in our lives.
Turn Me On, Dead Man: What do you currently have in the works?
The Janitors: Awesome UK label Cardinal Fuzz (http://cardinalfuzz.bigcartel.com/) will release Worker Drone Queen and Head Honcho plus some bonus tracks on a double gatefold vinyl this Spring! Psychedelic Light and Sound (http://www.psychedeliclightandsound.com/light-sound-records-2/) in the US will release Head Honcho in some format eventually.
Sometime by the end of the year we will release a new EP or full length. Depends on how creative we get. We’re also working to get our own digital label “Your ears have been bad and need to be punished” going. Any psych bands out there needing distro, give us a holler at email@example.com and we’ll hook you up!